Accidental or Preventative Pet Insurance?
Pet insurance is typically separated into two types of coverage: Accident and Preventative. While coverage options vary significantly, premiums typically run between $30-$50 a month per pet. Selections often cover 90% of the claim, but differ in terms, deductibles, and max payouts. Preventative care may lessen your anticipated costs and is the more expensive option. However, accident protection is less expensive and may protect against large, unexpected bills.
Accident insurance coverage may include:
- Loss due to theft or straying
- Replacement cost
- Injuries and surgeries
- Medication/prescription food
- Hereditary conditions
Preventative insurance coverage may include:
- Wellness exams
- Heartworm prevention & de-worming
Things to Consider When Buying Pet Insurance
1. Is your dog prone to any conditions because of breed?
German Shepherds are more likely to be diagnosed with hip dysplasia, a surgery that typically costs $1,700-$4,500. Be sure to consult your pet’s insurance policy to see if they cover hereditary conditions and if there is a coverage limit.
2. Does the policy require a level of care?
Accident coverage often requires owners to maintain a level of care for their pet including: wellness exams, teeth cleaning, spaying/neutering, and vaccinations. These would be paid out-of-pocket by the owner.
3. Is the care vet- or location-specific?
Consult your policy to determine if there are limitations regarding location (state or country) of care and if there are any vet (emergency care, network) limitations.
4. Is the coverage based on actual cost or estimated cost?
Make sure you know if your insurance pays out based on the cost of your vet bill or the insurance company’s estimated cost, especially if you are loyal to a specific vet.
5. Are you seeking coverage because of a pre-existing condition?
Very few insurance companies will cover pre-existing conditions. However, they will typically cover the dog for other conditions or mild conditions such as allergies. This is why it is valuable to purchase coverage for a dog that is prone to expensive conditions.
Pet Insurance Due diligence
There are several pet insurance companies, including HealthyPaws, Nationwide, Embrace, PetFirst, PetPlan, PetsBest, FIGO, and many others. Due diligence is key when trying to find the best plan for your pet. Below are some suggested steps for comparing pet insurance companies:
- Request quotes from providers.
- Review provider sample policies.
- Read customer reviews.
- Contact the provider with any unanswered questions.
- Review your pet’s medical history with the company to determine if there are any uncovered areas of importance.
Other Things to Note
- There is typically a waiting period of 5-30 days before insurance will cover any claims.
- Your vet may have their own preventative plan that you should consider when comparing plans.
- Dogs that are used for breeding or are pregnant typically cannot be covered.
- Few companies provide for dental expenses unless they are a result of an injury.